I have never been one to shy away from difficult topics, and I am not going to start now. I have been told by multiple people to not discuss the topic of dying with dignity publicly because it is such a controversial topic. It is an important topic for me though and I will explain why.
My Mom died from Alzheimer’s disease. She suffered for over 8 years and it was a slow agonizing death. Her mind was gone much sooner than her body died. She always told me she never wanted to live like that. She had seen other friends and relatives waste away to nothing and she hoped that would never happen to her. Unfortunately, at the end of her life there was nothing I could do to hasten her death. She languished for years in an assisted living facility with no quality of life for years. After hear death, I volunteered at hospice facilities where I sat with elderly people who were dying and they had no loved ones. It was heartbreaking to see how their life had diminished and they struggled.
A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s like my Mom. I had already decided back when my Mom was in the nursing home, that I wanted to die with dignity and be euthanized. Unfortunately in the United States, I can’t. There are currently nine States that offer death with dignity but none of them allow it with people with cognitive disorders like Alzheimers, dementia, ALS, and Parkinson’s. This seems so unfair to me. If I am able to make the decision now while I am still cognitive and I put my desire in writing, and also state my wishes on a video, it is my belief that I should have that option.
On June 25th, I did an interview with Being Patient.com regarding my desire to Die with Dignity. You can view the video interview below.
Since this interview I have spent an inordinate amount of time researching other avenues in which I can accomplish my goal. There are two countries such as Switzerland, and Netherlands that look like they may be able help me achieve my wish, but there are obstacles that may preclude me from being able to do it in these countries. Suicide is not an option for me…….I love my current life and do not want to commit suicide and do that to my family. They support my decision to die with dignity and I find it so frustrating that I could do it in the United States if I had Cancer or some other terminal illness, but I can’t because I have Alzheimer’s.
The worst thing I can imagine is dying slowly and languishing for years. I don’t want this for me and I certainly don’t want it for my family members. I don’t want to be a burden to them. When I reach a point that my quality of life has deteriorated that I can no longer feed myself or toilet and don’t recognize my family members or friends I would love to go peacefully via euthanasia. However, with the current laws in the U.S. I can’t. So now I advocate to try to change the laws. A week ago, I did an interview with Betsy Wurzel with Passionate World Talk Radio as well regarding this topic. I am not going to stop talking about it until the laws are changed in the United States. We need to have compassion for those of us with cognitive disorders who want this option and are capable of making this decision while we are still cognitive.
I know many of you are very religious or don’t believe in euthanasia. That is your prerogative, your choice. I should be free to choose as well. I’m not hurting anyone else by doing this in a compassionate caring way and with my family involved. Please do not judge….your not walking in my shoes.
Also, I am actively fundraising for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. If you can spare a few dollars, please donate! I have raised $4,495 towards my goal of $5,000. Let’s find a cure!
Not Today, Alzheimer’s, Not Today!